X10 Home Automation Project 1

Surely, you have heard of X10. X10 got very popular because they started the whole POPUP advertisement craze. For that, they got a bad name. Back then they were advertising their wireless cameras. I always thought X10 was a brand when in reality it is a technology.

X10 is a technology that transmits signals through your home’s electrical wiring. Usually, you will have a USB interface that connects to your computer and to a wall outlet. Using various programs you tell that interface to send commands to other X10 devices that are plugged into outlets throughout your home. For example, you can have an X10 Module plugged into a wall and a lamp plugged into that X10 Module. You can now tell your Interface to either turn on that lamp or dim it. It can be dimmed even if was never dimmable. But the technology doesn’t stop there. You have X10 motion sensors, X10 wireless cameras, dimmers, chimes, and so on and so on. The software loaded on the PC and onto the USB Interface is what brings it all together. With the software and interface you can automate everything that has an X10 Module connected to it.

So what did I do and what do I want to do with X10? Let me tell you.

I bought an X10 starter kit which would allow me to control a lamp and turn on an appliance with two sets of remotes. Before I even connected that, I bought a kit with a motion sensor, a chime, and a socket rocket (for a light bulb). THEN I purchased three wireless color X10 cameras. The remote lamp is working but the first little project I had was to get a sequence of events to happen when someone trigged a motion sensor. The software I purchased from www.X10.com called ActiveHome Pro came with a SmartMacros Plug-in. When I setup a macro I can tell it to do several things at once. I wanted a simple macro that when the motion sensor in the front of the house was triggered it would set off my X10 Chime, which I will place in the garage, and if its night time it will turn on one of the porch lights. Sounds simple enough, and with SmartMacro it’s supposed to be easy to setup.

Sadly, the documentation is close to nothing with the software. I relied on the forums at www.X10.com for info. I won’t go into too much detail but I had to create two macros. One that would turn on my light if it was night time and then shut it off five minutes later. Then I created another macro that would set off the chime every time the motion sensor was triggered. After a lot of configurations and with help from the forums I was able to get it all going by creating a 2 second delay before the porch light got the signal to turn on. Without that delay only one macro would run depending on which was listed first.

The next project is to add macro to turn on the camera, take a picture or video, and email it to me so I can see who is or was at my door. But I had to order one additional part for the cameras. A Video to USB adapter. The cameras I bought are intended to record to VCR, whatever that is.

So that was fun and I can’t wait to X10 every light in the house.

First Night

Well, tonight marks the second week of me staying at my new home. I can say it has been pretty good. Everyone always wants to hear about my first night. Let me tell you a little about my home. I won’t be posting pictures til after the house warming party next month. Anyway, it’s a two bed room, two bath, two car garage home. The best part is that the master bedroom and bath are upstairs. So on the first night I am a little nervous of course. Well, technically, this is not my first night. A friend and I stayed over back when I had no furniture and there was not much sleeping going on. I ended up back at my mom’s at six in the morning while my friend went to work. On my first night, sleeping in my new bed, with everything just about moved in, is the night I am talking about.

As I went to bed, and I don’t remember the time, I started hearing noises. I would assume this is normal in a new home. I was hearing some sort of knocking sound though. A solid thunk-thunk. Laying there in bed, staring into the darkness, I told myself that it has to be one of the doors in which I left without doorknobs. I then told myself it has to be the door to the A/C unit because the unit is sucking the door closed, and it has no door knob. So, I went downstairs and temporarily put its doorknob in place. I stood there for awhile and it was no longer making the thunk sound. But, as I walked up the stairs I heard the thunks again and this time I could tell that it was coming from my master bath. As I approached the door I could hear it thunking. It has the doorknob but there is still some play. I opened it up and jumped back into bed and slept like a baby!

And that, ladies and gents, is my first night!

More about the bat later.


Damn that wallpaper. I have one wall left to paint and it had to be covered with wallpaper. I have never removed paper before so I didn’t think it was going to be such a pain. Rob started removing some of it while I was painting and he had a helluva time. After awhile he decided we needed some sort of remover. It only took me driving all over town to find that damn thing that scores the wallpaper. The chemical I applied after scoring the walls was a lot easier to find.

Since I am no good at this kind of stuff it still took me awhile get the stuff off the walls. It was a pain in the arse! I now have to buy something to patch up some of the sheet rock that got tore off during the removal. So that should be done today. I say SHOULD because nothing is every easy for me.

Missing in Action

Incase anyone has missed me let me fill you in on where and what I have been doing for the past few weeks. Sometime in October I got an itch to buy a Harley Davidson V-Rod. After about a week or so of looking at them, I was sitting on the toilet and it dawned on me that I was being an idiot. I should be looking into buy a home, not a 16 thousand dollar bicycle. A girl I work with happens to be married to a realtor so we started talking and the search was on.

I was being pretty picky I guess but I was only looking for a two bedroom, or more, two bath, two car garage home on a quiet street. Out of the handful of homes that I saw two really stood out but one had the backyard against a very busy street and the other was very close to a high school. I honestly thought I was going to have to make a decision between those two homes. For two weeks, I didn’t go out looking for homes. The reason was that it was already Thanksgiving and many of the houses on the market I had already looked at. On December 9 I went to go see a home that eventually became the home I purchased.

The sale closed on February 3 and I have had the keys since the 6th of February but I have not moved in. I have been doing some remodeling and it is slow going. The painting I am doing should be done this weekend.

Fun with Photoshop

Not my best but its my first attempt at Mini-izing my Colorado.

I was going to try the Corvette but I don’t have a good profile of her. I had a little bit of time before lunch so I gave it a try. When I first got the truck a lot of the girls here at work said it was cute. I finally agree.

My Brother the Father

Well, not a Father but a Pastor. My brother of 33 up and moved to Abbeville, Louisianna to be a pastor at a church there. Before he moved over there Hurrican Rita tore up the town pretty good so thats where the rebuilding comes in. He sent us the copy of the local newspaper where he is on the front page.

In the photo he is the second from the left, the mexican.

More info about his church and his town can be found here: http://www.bimi.org/content/spKatrina.asp

The website for the local paper is down.

Way to go John. He has come a long way from burning my GI Joes at the stake! He still owes me for those by the way.

Betting on the Dogs

No luck man. Rob, Christy, and I have been going to the Valley Race Park, greyhound races, these past three weeks and I can’t seem to catch a break man. I have come close of course. Always coming up short one dog. Damn those dogs. As Rob said,”how freaking hard is it to pick three dogs”. We usually bet whats called a Trifecta Box. You pick three dogs and they can come in in any order as long as they are in the top three. Its turning out to be a waste of money but it can be fun when your dogs are in the lead. I tell myself that at least I am not wasting this money on drinks!

Christy’s sister is the only one that has picked all three dogs. Damn her!
I might not be going this coming weekend.

Strange Drean

I had a weird dream last night. Wierd. I shouldn’t even be talking about it since I have not eaten. I can’t remember all the details and my dreams are usually all scrambled. One minute I am at one place and the next I am at another.

I was at a house and people from work were there and we were opening Christmas gifts. I got some candy and a model Corvette that was very shiny. Like Paris Hiltons cell phones. A lot of people opened gifts but I wont go into the detail about what people got or were saying. All of a sudden there was a loud siren like sound and a bright flash. Up in the sky thier appeared to be a meteor or astroid falling from the sky heading towards us. Either it passed over us or crashed to the ground. It was very confusing. Several of these things flew through the sky and at one point I thought I was going to die because I said tell everyone I love them. I guess they never hit the ground but they left a streak through the sky. Kind of like the ones airplanes leave when they are flying real high. Something appeared to be falling from those streaks though. Falling the way blood drips on glass. It was almost clear but had bubble in the inside. Like the stuff in a lava lamp. At first we were scared but I made a motion for someone to reach up and touch it, and they did. It looked like it was harmless but then it attached itself to our fingers. It was doing something to us. I was the last one to get the upgrade. After awhile something or someone came on to the computer screen. It reminded me of a snake. A friendly snake. It was telling us how we just got the latest demo of some sort of mind enchancement project. It would let us use the full capacity of our brains I guess.

What was also weird was that I felt like that snake had communicated to us before and that we were aware of this whole project but it was the first time they had done something to us. After the broadcast on the television I found that I was able to tell the TV what station to change to, to play music, and to open the internet.

Other things were going on in the dream that I cant remember in detail but everyone was going on as normal. None of this was strange or scary. There was no presidential address or anthing.
Very Very Wierd. When I woke up I was a little relieved it was a dream.

Christmas is Over

So goes another Christmas. I am grateful for the gifts I got but man do I miss getting toys for Christmas. I remember those nights trying to go to bed super early so that I can wake up even earlier to open gifts. Those were the days. One night sticks in my head for some reason. My brother and I had an old Black and White TV in our room and I was so trying to sleep but he kept watching TV so I couldnt get to sleep. That sucked.

I also miss going outside to show off the gifts I got, whether they be big or small. Going out to play with cars or with a new bike. I get flashbacks when I leave the house on Christmas day and I see kids playing outside or riding shiny new bikes. You know what they got for Christmas.

The most toy like gift I got this year was a Telephone in the shape of a Corvette from Rob’s girlfriend Christy. Last year I got some Hotwheels so that was cool
I miss being a kid.